Self Help Guru James Ray arrested for manslaughter

I’ve made no bones about my general disdain for the self-help industry. Like religion, this insidious New Age garbage is populated almost entirely by swindlers preying on people desperate for change and meaning in their lives. Charismatic individuals with silver tongues and easy answers make millions of dollars preying on the weak and offer very little in return.

Perhaps my least favorite of these clowns is James Ray, who managed to catapult himself to stardom after appearing in the movie “The Secret“. If you don’t remember this steaming pile of crap, its basic assertion is that a universal force called “The Law of Attraction” allows thoughts to manifest themselves into reality. In other words, just think positively, and the Universe will give you what you desire; kind of like a Cosmic genie (this is what the movie actually endorses). Of course, the flip side to this ridiculousness is if bad things are happening to you, you’re the one who invited it on yourself. Ray and his ilk try and use quantum mechanics to back up their claims, but like Richard Feynman wisely stated “if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics”.

Ray has gotten in trouble a few times with his bullshit self-help techniques, but the events of October 8th, 2009 are sure to haunt him for a long time. You see, during one of his Sedona, Arizona sweat-lodge retreats (Sedona is the capital of the New Age movement it seems), three people died in his poorly build lodge, and another 18 had to be treated for burns, severe dehydration and kidney failure. Ray was untrained in this ancient Native American tradition, and he had no medical staff on hand to take care of any potential problems. He also had forced all the lodgers to fast for 36 hours before the ordeal, and even while people were passing out and vomiting, he was still telling people to stay in the sweat lodge. The results were dozens injured, and three dead.

Before his arrest today, James had tried all kinds of asinine things to remove any culpability, including hiring a medium to tell the family of the victims their deceased loved ones were busy enjoying the afterlife. Needless to say, no one was very amused. Now he gets to see if his famous Law of Attraction he so loves can help him escape the confines of jail. I sure hope you’re not having any thoughts about being raped in the shower, buddy…

Comments (5)

  • avatar

    Cheryl Song

    The Chaser’s War on Everything
    The Secret (featuring James Arthur Ray)

  • avatar

    John Curtis

    It’s easy to vilify Mr. Ray and applaud his arrest! Now, at least, he will be tried in court and made to face the consequences of his actions… but what of the REST of the self-help “industrial complex?”

    I respectfully submit that we (consumers and producers of self-help) establish the “Association of Self-Help Professionals” or whatever name seems most appropriate to elevate the professional and protect the public.

    All that is lacking now is the motivation and leadership. If you consider yourself a self-help expert OR if you are a consumer of self-help products, I urge you to consider working together to turn the Sedona Sweat Lodge deaths into a legacy that salutes the virtuous work of the earliest self-help experts like Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carneige, honors the efforts of legitimate, self-help professionals of today, and turns the deaths of those who died in the Sedona Sweat Lodge… Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore into a legacy for the betterment of the self-help profession and society.

    Any help you can provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

    John Curtis, Ph.D.
    Americans Against Self-Help Fraud

    “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it” – George Bernard Shaw

  • avatar


    I can assure you there are not too many followers of Norman Vincent Peale around here.

    You’re not really building a great reputation by making the rounds of the blogs with this pitch. If people believe in your project, they will promote it for you. BTW, nice opening statement for a PhD: “It’s easy to vilify Mr. Ray and applaud his arrest!” In quite good taste, akstually.

  • avatar

    Rick Sampson

    Life coaching is a future-focused practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Life coaches select from among several methods to help clients set and reach goals.

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